Between Love And Hate
by Michelle K.

A horn beeps, startles them both. They realize that the light's turned green again. Maybe for the millionth time. Neither of them knows.

He doesn't really care.

He's not sure how long they've been in front of that police station. He's barely noticed anything except her, how she curled up against him. How she cried. How perversely happy it made him to know that she's wrecked, too.

He's not the only one twisted. And that's fair. This is all her fault.

Her. If it weren't for her. If he didn't love her... If he didn't hate her...

The horn continues to beep, and just wants to tell the damn guy to pass. But he can't speak, can't move from the embrace Connie has him in.

Damn her. Damn her for being the cause of everything.

"Don't go, Edward," she says. Her eyes are locked with his, pleading and desperate. "I couldn't live with myself if--"

"But you can live with yourself now?" he says, and he feels like crying. But he's sick of showing her how much pain is coursing through his veins. She doesn't deserve his love or his hate.

But she has them both.

"No, not really," she says casually, eyes still wet with tears. "I love you."

The car behind him finally passes. Moments later, the light is red again. They're still in the same place. And his head aches. All of him aches.

She's still waiting expectantly. Maybe for words of love to fall out of his mouth; maybe for his final decision on jail versus escape. He refuses to give her the former; he gives her the latter by pressing on the gas pedal when the light turns green again.

Part of him is still saying, 'Turn yourself in.' But he wants to try to go on, act like this never happened. After all, she seems willing to act like it was all some dream.

And this is all her fault. She may as well have a say in the decision.


They don't talk about leaving anymore.

It's grown fairly apparent to them both that he's not going to turn himself in. The police haven't paid them any recent visits. Neither of them are going to talk to someone else about what happened. She's not going to turn him in.

So leaving would be pointless. There's no danger here, unless the silence that's grown between them could be considered a hazard.

Maybe it is.

So, there aren't any dreams of Mexico, any flighty ideas of a new life. They can't make a new life no matter where they go. They're stuck with this...this...whatever this is. And he's stuck with her. He can't leave her. He just can't walk away.

If only he could walk away. If only...if only it weren't for her. It's a mantra he plays in his head, 'It's all your fault, Connie. It's all your fault, Connie.'

He thinks she hears it, even when she's acting 'normal.' Like she's acting now, laughing at some television show that Charlie wanted to watch. She's acting like she's happy.

God, could she really be happy? He's not. But he laughs with them. Because they're supposed to be normal, aren't they?

'Everything's fine. Everything's fine,' he repeats in his head, trying to drown out the recriminations against Connie. 'Everything's fine.'

She looks over at him, eyes shining. Her hand brushes against his knee. For a moment, he believes his own deceit.

The next moment, it's back. 'It's all your fault, Connie. It's all your fault.'

But he still manages to smile.

She smiles back.

He starts to feel ill.

Maybe tomorrow will be better. Or maybe it'll be worse.


He wants to kill her.

He's known it for some time. Hell, he's told her about it. And he'd thought that that confession would be cathartic, that admitting to what haunts him will make it go away.

It hasn't.

It still lingers, the desire to see her bright features morph into dull surprise. To see blood pouring down her face. To extract her and all the pain she's caused him. To just squash her for her betrayal.

"I hate you so much," he mutters under his breath.

She looks over at him. There's the slight hint of fear in her eyes, like she knows the depth of what's going on in his mind. "What?" she asks.

"Nothing," he replies, his voice stronger. "Just...nothing."

The bed shifts as she moves closer to him. She smells like flowers, and all he can think of is the day he met her. He fell in love with her so quickly. But it took so long for him to hate her. The turn isn't even complete, since he's not thinking of anger right now. He's thinking of when it was all just love.

He misses that time.

She kisses him, and he kisses back. She can still intoxicate him. She can still control him.

It will always be all her.

She moans when his teeth graze against her lower lip. He remembers when eliciting reactions from her made him feel good. Now, it just feels empty.

Now, he just wonders if she ever thinks about Paul.

Now, it's just fucking instead of making love.

Now, it's barren and somber. Not unlike himself.

But that's not why he doesn't enjoy the sex as much as he once did.

It's because of that part of him, a part that sickens him, that can only think of wrapping his fingers around her neck. He can picture her face turning colors, her breath coming out in ragged heaps. That part of him can only feel release in thinking of her dead.

That part of him is growing.

She says his name as she wraps her legs tighter around him. He wonders what she was like with Paul, if she screamed louder. If she liked it more. If she liked being some kid's whore.

He starts to thrust harder and faster, until she's gasping. He doesn't care if she enjoys herself. Really, he hopes that she's in pain.

Her face looks twisted to him. Maybe that's what she would look like if she were dying. Maybe that's what she looked like for him.

Fuck her.

When he comes, all these thoughts run through his head. 'I hate you. I love you. Don't touch me. Don't leave.'

He doesn't know what to say.

He buries his face in her neck, and he feels her fingers sliding through his hair. He doesn't want to cry. But he does. Silent tears that he knows she must feel.

"I'm sorry," she says.

And he remembers that he doesn't want comfort from this woman. He pulls away abruptly, rolls onto his back, and stares at the ceiling. "Did you like him better? Did you like fucking him more than--"

"We have to get past this," she says. He can hear a tremor in her voice. But he doesn't care about her tears.

"I know. Forget I said anything. I'm going to go to sleep. I have to leave early tomorrow."

He rolls onto his side and closes his eyes.

He doesn't sleep.


He goes out for a drive sometimes, after Connie and Charlie have gone to sleep. Because sometimes he just can't stand it. Sometimes, he dreams of going to Mexico without her. Starting a new life. Forgetting her, and what she's done.

But he knows that's impossible. So, he never even heads toward the airport.

He does go other places, though. Sometimes he drives into the city and passes by Paul's building. And remembers how easy it was to kill him. How easy it was for Connie to fuck him.

Sometimes, he goes past the garbage dump that was Paul's grave of sorts for a while. He wonders if the cops are closing in on him, collecting fibers from that rug and piecing together a puzzle. He thinks the pieces will never fit. He almost wishes they would.

Sometimes, when he thinks like that, he drives by the police station. He stops his car whether the light is red or not. He thinks of Mexico, and thoughts of having no escape from her fills him with bile. He thinks of jail, and thoughts of having no escape from his guilt fills him with dread.

Sometimes, he starts to get out of the car. But he always closes the door before a foot hits the pavement. He always drives away.

And he always goes back to her, back to a life of love and hate.

Back to eating himself alive with everything he can't really talk about.

Days pass, life goes on. The police never come.

But his cage remains. And she created it.

It's all because of her.


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